People love to follow celebrities on social media, and whatever celebrities exemplify soon becomes a trend. For this reason, Dr. Stephen Powis, who resides in England, believes that celebrities should abstain from endorsing health-related products on social media as such products can possibly have negative impacts on the health of the general public.
Dr. Powis is a senior medical practitioner working for NHS, England. According to him, the message which is delivered through such influential ads on social media is usually not backed up by any scientific evidence.
These weight-loss products usually come with dangerous side effects, for both mental and physical health of consumers, especially for the younger audience as they are more prone to buying these products.
That is why Dr. Powis believes that celebrities should act more responsibly when deciding to feature in ads selling such sensitive products, as their influence is not restricted to the entertainment industry and hence they need to fulfill their social responsibility as well.
Endorsing such products as being very beneficial for consumption provides them with increased credibility as being safe for health, which is not always true.
Lack of Important Information
Many such ads also do not deliver any information about the potential side effects of these products, or any warnings or restrictions with respect to their use. As a result, the general public considers these products to be safe for consumption and a quick fix for their weight woes. However, they are seldom aware that such quick fixes come with risks that far outweigh any benefits these products promise to provide.
That is why a greater responsibility lies with influential celebrities, as people look up to them for both inspiration and aspiration. When they endorse such potentially harmful products, people follow their remarks and try these products without seeking advice from medical practitioners.
Dr. Powis is of the opinion that celebrities are not the only ones who need to be blamed for this harmful practice. Social media companies also share the blame as they do not restrict such advertisements which potentially have harmful side effects.
When advertisements of such products are made with celebrities that are highly influential, they attract a larger audience. The target audience is usually adolescents who are easily influenced by whatever celebrities have to say.
That is why the trend of hiring influential celebrities to promote such shady brands is on the rise, and unfortunately, many celebrities are willing to be cast in such advertisements.
However, hopefully, this practice won’t continue for long. Recently, there has been an announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority which compels advertisements featuring celebrities to prominently mark the ads with a paid content label.
This is to make sure that the audience of these advertisements is aware that the endorsers are being paid to endorse such content. Setting out such rules for product promotion will definitely cut down on the influence they have on people.
The purpose behind such restrictions is not to suppress businesses from reaching potential customers, but to force them into being more responsible while making the ad content. Dr. Powis remarked that the young people are at an impressionable stage of their lives and hence whatever they get to see in advertisements affects them much more than adults.
A Few Examples
Recently, Kim Kardashian, who has more than 120 million followers on Instagram alone, advertised lollypops on her page which are meant to suppress the appetite. She was later criticized for promoting such a product and eventually had to delete her post. Kim has also once advertised meal replacement shakes on her page.
In contrast, Jameela Jamil, an actress, was reportedly critical of Kardashian for playing such a role in promoting weight-related products. Jamil displays a positive image about life and body, and always talks about living life based on values rather than worrying about the way one looks.
According to statistics, every 1 person out of 4 is worried about his or her body image, especially girls who believe that staying thinner is essential to look beautiful. Boys, on the other hand, are increasingly preferring a more muscular exterior with minimal body fat.
For this reason, regardless of gender, these people are going for products which offer quick fixes to their supposed problems. According to Dr. Powis, advice from a qualified doctor should be sought before trying any such product that can potentially harm the body.